Limits of thought

-Chomsky borrows Whitehead’s language about scope and limits of an organism and takes it as making some aspects of reality unknowable to us. But how to distinguish scope and limits from a start-up endowment?

Old Empiricism: nothing in intellect not first in sense. New Empiricism: sense fixes a limit to what can be known. Setting a starting point vs. setting a limit.

Kant: all begins with a critique of the organ of thought. STA: there is no organ of thought. And yes, I mean this in the same way you do. If “organ” means “whatever you do a task with” then it isn’t defined enough for K.’s project. It needs a distinct, finite structure, which is exactly what STA would deny.

-We have to figure out the cognitive scheme we are working from/ we can’t even conceive of what a cognitive scheme is.

-How would someone define what can be known in a (necessarily larger) domain of the unknowable?

-What sense is there to a cognitive limit that we keep transgressing in thought?

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3 Comments

  1. stephen said,

    May 26, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Must read: “the problem of logically alien thought and its aftermath” -James Conant.

  2. May 28, 2016 at 7:31 am

    “How would someone define what can be known in a (necessarily larger) domain of the unknowable?”

    You can’t define that, but this does not prevent it from being, just as you cannot see the edge of your field of view, but that does not prevent it from being there.

    And it is not a valid response to say that the fact that I just talked about it means that I know it, just as the fact that I can concentrate on the side of my field of view definitely does not mean that I can see the edge.

  3. robalspaugh said,

    May 28, 2016 at 8:08 am

    You’ll make me a Platonist yet.


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